Author, Social Advocate, and Broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magid's Essential Reading After 2017
Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a mechanical engineer, award winning social advocate, author and broadcaster. A Sudanese-born Muslim woman, she was named the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year and released her memoir, Yassmin’s Story, a year later at the age of 24. Yassmin advocates for the empowerment of youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She founded the non-for-profit Youth Without Borders at age 16. Outside advocacy, she works as an engineer on offshore gas rigs and is an internationally accredited F1 journalist.
As 2017 comes to an end, what books could you suggest that people read to reflect on this year’s tumultuous events and why do you recommend them?
The Hate U Give by A.C. Thomas
A New York Times Bestseller, Angie Thomas’s debut novel has been met with critical acclaim, and rightly so. The human stories behind police brutality, shootings and violence are sadly often lost in the headlines. Thomas brings those stories to the fore through the eyes of Starr Carter, a young black teenager living in between two worlds - her home in a poorer, black neighbourhood, and her school in a white wealthy suburbia. The book reads like a teenage mind works, but doesn’t shy away from the nuanced complexity of their lives, as often teenagers themselves do not. This book made me laugh, cry and think, all within pages of each other, a truly novel experience.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote an essay with the same title. The discussions provoked were fierce, but as many uncomfortable conversations are, sorely needed. The book looks at race in Britain, it’s history, how it operates and the structural change that needs to occur. Provocative, well researched and insightful, this is a book that you can’t miss, particularly if you’re interested in understanding why individual action alone will not enough to change the system.
Generation M by Shelina Janmohamed
Think you know something about young Muslims? Think again. Shelina Janmohamed takes us into the world of young Muslims - an increasingly influential demographic - and looks at the attitudes, trends and perspectives of this enormous, but incredibly misunderstood group. We have huge buying power, are increasingly spiritual / religious, and our voices are getting louder. Read Generation M to understand a little more about young Muslims, beyond the headlines.
The Four by Scott Galloway
If you’re using a service for free, you’re probably the product. It’s a sentiment that is being repeated over and over, as people start to understand what is going on at the Big Four technology companies - Facebook, Apple, Google (Alphabet) and Amazon. I am fascinated by the world of tech and it’s potential to shape the world, for better or for worse: the NYU professor Scott Galloway gives a decent and hilarious explanation for why we shouldn’t be complacent. Prepare to be terrified, intrigued and galvanised into some sort of deep reflection as to where the world is heading, and what should be done - if anything can be done at all.
MARCH (Trilogy) by John Lewis
This was a birthday present, and one of my favourite reads. It’s a little unusual: the trilogy tells the story of the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of John Lewis… In the form of a comic book. If you want a play by play of how the Civil Rights movement unfolded, commentary on the main characters of the time and an insight into the thinking of one of the movement’s main leaders, March is a series that you cannot miss. With wonderful illustrations, the trilogy is a beautiful addition to any bookshelf.
Fighting Hislam by Susan Carland
Susan Carland is a dear friend and incredible academic. Her book, Fighting Hislam, looks at the way Muslim women are fighting misogyny and the patriarchy around the world - through and alongside their faith. If you have ever wondered how Muslim women think, live or understand their faith, this is the book to read.